Monday, November 25, 2013

Local Art Seen: Zenith City Lines and a Gingerbread City

Three showings of the much anticipated Zenith City Lines (ZNL) took place this weekend at The Underground. I went to the very well-attended Saturday show, arriving a little early and watching a congenial crowd slowly form. Some of Minnesota's top photographers were in attendance, among other local art followers

ZNL was a collaboration involving the music and photography of John Heino, four dancers from Phoenix Productions (Jesse Davis, Sze Leung, Nicole Sippola, and Lindsey Wittkop) and the choreography of Megan Abel Schmidt.

The show was two years in the making, and not without difficulties to overcome, including a computer crash two weeks beforehand in which it must have momentarily felt like all was lost. Makes for good drama in a film, and is almost cliche, but in real life it's the kind of thing that can make you age five years over a weekend.

All the music in the program was written and performed (pre-recorded) by Heino, probably sometime long in advance so that Megan Abel Schmidt could develop the choreography that the performers executed. The pieces varied in length as well as mood.

To say the centerpiece of the show was the photography -- being projected on a large screen.extendin up into the room as the dancers interacted below -- would be a mistake. The show braided the interplay of performers with images of the interplay that took place in front of Heino's lens these past two years, amongst some of the Zenith City's most memorable and wonderful settings. Objects of beauty interacting with visual wonders.

There were places where the imagery went into unusual spaces, and one would expect that if you follow the arc of Heino's work. For the most part, restraint was what I saw at play... including the dancers, who demonstrated great poise and precision, allowing every picture to tell its story.

Gingerbread World
Hey everyone, there is a Gingerbread City up at Duluth's Nordic Center and Norway Hall. As nearly everyone knows, the Northland was settled by many a Scandinavian, and their homeland connections are still intact. For Norwegians, it's the time of year for  Pepperkakebyen, which means Gingerbread City. On Fridays and Saturdays through December 14 you can visit the Nordic Center located at street level on Lake Avenue in the Sons of Norway Building. (Just above the alley across the the tech village parking lot.)

In addition to a myriad collection of gingerbread wonders, there is also art and activities for youngsters. Alison Aune and friends will welcome you with warm cider and show you the myriad creations from all the versions of gingerbread contributed from area schools, churches, businesses and community clubs.

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